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bullying

Discussion in 'News and Politics' started by basic, Oct 18, 2010.

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  1. basic

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    I try to avoid heavy handed subjects, but I'm just posting this to get it out there. This has been on my mind for a few weeks now and I just wanting to write it out.

    In regard to the recent events with gay teenagers who have committed suicide, the term "bullying" has been used again and again in the news and media. In my opinion, using the term "bullying" is sometimes inaccurate because it simply puts a meaningless label on a much larger problem. It can also completely ignore the actual problem which has its roots in society. The term "bullying" is never really defined anywhere by anyone. Words matter. What constitutes bullying anyway? [Within reason] a little bit of pushing, shoving, and a few nasty words is just apart of life while growing up. And for those with older siblings, you know that they WILL torment you. This is what I don't consider bullying because everyone experiences it, and in a way it is integral to growing up. I think media/society has become hypersensitive to bullying and labels every shove as bullying.

    I think bullying is anything beyond childish thinking where there is actual hate involved. Homophobia and hatred toward people who are different is an abstract idea that one can only learn by his surroundings growing up. It is a social problem, not a bullying problem. There are many reasons why it has become a social problem, but I will not go into that. I think the shallow term "bullying" has been used only because once you actually investigate the problem it gets political and then religious, in which case it gives people the right to take sides and disagree with an obvious problem.

    I think it's a positive thing that these things have been brought to attention in media, but I don't think it's being addressed properly. If the "real problem" is not addressed, it will never go away.
     
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  2. Galileo

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    I think the bullying is a product of society's thinking, to be honest, and you won't change it by simply addressing the bullying, you have to address the thinking behind it.

    most bullying is done to kids who are different. kids who are disabled, of different ethnicity, different sexuality, or hell, even if they dress differently or like different music and happen to wear glasses and play chess instead of football.

    but there is a thinking in the general public, that difference is wrong, or bad, or dangerous, but kids have to learn that from somewhere, and that somewhere is what needs to change.
     
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  3. Poetic Justice

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    I think this is an incredibly hard, maybe impossible term to define.

    The official definition used by employers etc (in England at least) is if the victim considers the other persons behaviour bullying or harassment then it is.

    There are some flaws in this because what if someone is just WAY over sensitive and interprets everything as bullying.

    I don't think it is possible to verbally define what bullying is. We just have to take it case by case
     
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  4. testing

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    Bullying is a problem, a big one, and it absolutely does need to be defined and discussed.

    The current environment in schools (the media is half a beat behind) is that teachers are hyper-regulated and required to report every little incident as bullying... it's a big concern; teachers and administrators are terrified of being sued, there are classes being taught, counselors being called in, forms being filled out: people don't want bullying in their schools. Great! Me neither.

    But defining bullying? That leads to the next step, and currently schools here are tense and over-reactive: for example, a 6-year-old girl made a somewhat unflattering comment about her friend's shirt, and got reported by her teacher to the school officials as a bully. A step too far, maybe? But the teachers are in total CYA mode and have to report everything for fear of being sued.

    And, psychologically speaking, does it harm kids to imply to them that every little slight could, should and probably will crush them like the weaklings they are? (irony here, people.) Isn't resilience and learning to cope with difficult people a good thing? Nobody wants a Lord of the Flies scenario, and nobody wants people driven to suicide or rejected for being different, but isn't taking it too far risking raising a bunch of overly litigious hypersensitive crybabies? I'm not so sure about that, and I am an overly litigious hypersensitive crybaby. Shouldn't we teach kids skills to deal with low-level relationship difficulties?
     
  5. Kavalan

    Kavalan Has risen

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    The fact is that teachers don't know the whole story. Yea that off hand remark was an offhand remark, but what if that was the 80th time it was said that day? It is the fact that teachers can only go off of what they observe that has them in the CYA mode. Bullies choose there moments to strike. Those who retaliate to it generally do so immediate and therefore don't get that luxury and are generally the ones caught and punished. Bullies are always one step ahead...

    This is the line that needs to be defined. Sugar coating the world is not the right answer. But at the same time if one is harassed continuously for years on end and nothing is done. That affect's the person and never in a wholly good way. Do you think they have any sort of self esteem? Were you able to in middle school or jr high say in 4-6 years I might possibly never see any of these people again. Do you think the regular teen can think that far down the road?
     
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  6. testing

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    Obviously, harassment is not okay and should be stopped, end of discussion. I would like teens to be able to see farther down the road than the next few years, and know that the world is a whole lot bigger than their school.

    I would also like children to have self-esteem even in the face of not being liked by everybody, and to know how to deal with that very simple fact of life. And I would like people who are different to be accepted and valued and for cruelty to be ended.

    Really, stopping bullying is great and I want it to happen. It's just that I am a little concerned about the repurcussions of children being labeled bullies who are nothing of the sort -- kind of like the zero tolerance policy for guns in schools resulting in children with keychains and plastic toys being expelled. (It's happened.)

    This sort of thing can impact innocent children -- who are not harassing anyone -- and can actually do more harm than good. Being expelled or having "bully" put on one's permanent record can be serious and the protectors can wind up being the oppressors.

    Glad I'm not a teacher, it sounds like an absolute nightmare.
     
  7. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Permanent Fixture

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    Bullying is a persistent threat though. Not a one-time thing. It would be very hard to mislabel a persistant bully, especially if incidents are reported on a frequent basis. What should be done though is for the reporting of bullying to be encouraged, and kids to be educated about it in-general. It is a fact that the victim is often too scared to report persistent bullying based on the belief that reporting the event will make it worse; as well, groups do a far superior job at bullying than just one person. Meanwhile if a kid watches another kid get bullied, then he can report it and remain anonymous -- its is often the case where many kids will not want to confront a bully directly, even if the victim is another kid; however they may be more likely to report it if their anonymity is guaranteed. There are ways to curb bullying which do not simply involve punishing/expelling the alleged bully; a talk with the school counsellor, victim impact statements, or having the alleged bully attend anti-bullying workshop may work.
     
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    #7 Zero Angel, Oct 18, 2010
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  8. Blind Bandit

    Blind Bandit Blind Man Being Lead to Nowhere
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    Yup there is a saying little assholes become big assholes. And society often doesn't take bullying seriously enough. Why? Because if your in the normal circle you'll do anything to stay their and you will throw anyone in your way to wolves. I've seen it several times over with teens and adults.

    We could stop bullying but society doesn't want to change and bullying is just sad by product of bullying.
     
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  9. Galileo

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    um, quite frankly, I think we spend far too long discussing and defining things that we forget that we're actually supposed to be dealing with them.

    It's all very well to discuss and define what bullying actually is, but while we're spending time and money on that, guess what? society isn't changing and kids are still getting bullied.

    I understand that we don't want to wrap up kids in cotton wool for their entire childhood, but kids need to learn somehow that physical appearance doesn't change the person inside and not to be such judgemental little jirks, for the most part.

    We spend too much time deciding what words can and can't be used in society, as if that's going to change how certain people are treated. all that does is make sure they can't be used on paper by people who think they matter.

    it doesn't stop kids shouting it in the playground or on the street.
     
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  10. bagelriffic

    bagelriffic Community Member

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    i think bullying comes in different flavors, thus the reason its so hard to define a certain act or behavior as such. but i think the reasoning behind it stems from feelings of low self esteem, just as the victims of it do. if i were to define bullying id say its an attempt to make someone else feel inferior because of ones own feelings of inadequacy.

    problem is i wonder how many adults even know how to stop this because as someone above said, these bullys don't go away after highschool, you can find em in the real world just about anywhere.

    i think its important that we as a nation acknowledge its importance as most people have been bullied at one point or another. i think starting from the ground up in this case is the best approach. maybe we could have a mandatory countrywide session for grade school that involves proven techniques for getting around it, which the way i see it there's different strokes for different blokes, depending on the bullies style.

    problem is the ability to discredit a bully's claims of superiority relies on self assurance, which could mean it needs to go beyond the class room. maybe getting more compliments of self assurance from home could up a victims self esteem, thus allowing them to successfully ignore their oppressor taking away his power over them. sometimes i think a situation calls for the old hit em harder method. but the likeliness a teacher's going to advise that the button to shut a bullies mouth is behind his eye seems doubtful at best (whether or not its true), and probably not the best call of action in most situations anyway.

    either way i think this requires first recognition, then multiple approaches at dissolving it as its deeply layered to begin with. our generation has had to deal with bullies, maybe if we become proactive about it, the next won't, at least not to the extent we did, and if they do they'll know how to get around it.
     
  11. Prometheus

    Prometheus Regular Poster

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    A very local school (and my local, I mean I was just driving past the parking lot five minutes ago) recently entered the national spotlight over a severe streak of bullying-caused suicides (four in two years, if I recall correctly). The school has "taken measures" to help "prevent" bullying, such as hiring more counselors, but I'm really convinced they're just covering their asses.

    Why? Well, despite VERY active parents and friends trying to get the school to speak up on behalf of the students, the school never steps up. They quiet these things because Mentor, OH, the city that Mentor HS is located in, was recently included in the Top 100 Places to Live in the USA. They want to keep that image and, believe me, the residents believe it's true (they're very "us and them" with neighboring cities) even though the majority of the population ranges from middle to upper-middle class. There isn't really a "rich" area.

    The most recent case was a girl whose Croatian accent created that great, timeless wedge between herself and her peers. The taunts were terrible, ranging from the usual jostling to death threats via the phone (at 3, 4, 5 am sometimes) and even once included pushing her down a flight of stairs, on school property, in front of the principal. Nobody was punished. Miraculously, when the lawyers sought for copies of the complaints and whatnot that had been filed with the school's office over the years, they claimed that they had "disappeared" when she transferred schools. Yes, in this case, the parents can't be blamed -- they were so avidly trying to defend their daughter that they even withdrew her out of that school a mere week before she ended it all, fed up with the resistance from school officials.

    At her wake, three of the girls who had led the bulk of the taunts walked up to the coffin and laughed. The school has no comment.

    Now, I'm a teacher by trade and I spent most of my adolescence in the area (I did not attend Mentor HS, thankfully). Many of my friends went there, including many of my teacher-friends. All of them, ALL OF THEM, that attended the school will defend the actions of the HS. Many of them even defended bullying, including the laughing at the funeral. Many of my friends who did not attend MHS as students but did attend seminars and the like there will attest that the school inhabitants are extremely judgmental of outsiders, to the point that even the teachers will pass out racist and classist remarks with smug satisfaction and not even get a nasty look from the administration.

    I...just, ugh. I hope you can tell what I think about this. It's bloody ridiculous.

    I have plenty of questions I can draw out of this and I welcome any comment that comes to mind, but the large question that has been going through my head these last few years has been "To what degree is the school responsible for intervening? What about the parents of the victims and bullies?"
     
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  12. testing

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    Holy F...

    Really? I shouldn't be stunned but I am, nevertheless. Stunned. God, I expected better -- silly me. This is depressing.

    What is the demographic mix of this school? I'm asking because based on your comments I would be led to think it was not very racially diverse, therefore anyone "different" would stick out like a sore thumb and be more vulnerable to this horrible environment. Is that the case? What do you think CAUSES this attitude? Because until the attitude changes, nothing much will change, don't you think?

    Yet most people I know would find this situation just as horrifying as you do. Me too.

    As a parent, I would love to prevent any possibility of bullying by homeschooling my children, but that decision would be very difficult for a number or reasons, not the least of which is that I am not a teacher and not particularly patient. I would NEVER want my children to either bully or be bullied, and I honestly don't think they are, but how does a parent know this without parking themself at the school all day and being (perhaps inappropriately) intrusive in their teenager's life? Do you think the parents of the bullies actually told them that it was okay to treat other people like crap, and that suicide is funny, and that laughing at funerals is in any way appropriate or decent? Is that what happened? If so, then that is so screwed up I can't even get my mind around it.
     
  13. Prometheus

    Prometheus Regular Poster

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    The school is primarily caucasian. There is a minority population, but it is...considerably smaller. Likely less than 1%. But the kids at Mentor have the opinion of themselves as an upscale area and, because their parents are slightly more than comfortable, they consider themselves on top of the game. It should also be noted that most teachers report a very lacking return in parental investment when trying to communicate with home. A friend of mine who went there (and still defends the school, but since his dad is a teacher there, I guess I can forgive him some defensiveness) attributes the overwhelming elitism of the students to the fact that most of them have never left the area, get everything they ask for from absentee "buy their love" parents, and, you know, are just generally kids trying to be cool. There is also a VERY large population to the school which some have claimed is why it seems to predominant; with so many students, the bully population is likely to be larger? I'm iffy on that cop-out.

    Yeah, I know. Most of my friends even knew the first kid who did it. I mean, good god, right?

    But yeah, I have no idea how really any of that works. Most of the kids who killed themselves had gone to their parents beforehand, to my knowledge, but it was ultimately futile. What can you do against the adolescent hate machine?
     
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  14. aeon

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    I am 41 years of age, and my sense of shame at having been bullied as a child is still so strong that a part of me wants to post about it, but the internal agitation in thinking about it is such that I am loathe to do so - especially because I chose to act not in accordance with my values both times when I thought I had no other option or resource.

    I am getting up from the computer now so I can go in another room and cry. FFS, I don't know if the pain really ever goes away. Well, when I die it will - I hope.


    upset,
    Ian
     
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  15. Billy

    Billy Contents Under Pressure
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    INsecure kids with lots of friends will always have pack like behavior, with some alpha standard, and some omega standard... everyone between will either follow or stand apart, many follow, the followers will join the bullies because they hate the weaker omega kids because they are "different" from the standard. And they're all just too immature to recognize this behavior as primitive, as many later do when they age a little. You cant end bullying, its a part of our nature, fundamentally a part, its behavior we inherited from the mammals we descended from.
     
  16. Faye

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    You can't end it, but you can definitely minimize it and set up incentives against it. There are many things in our nature that we limit through cultural incentives.
     
  17. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    Could you elaborate [MENTION=834]Dragon[/MENTION]?
     
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  18. Faye

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    On what part? [MENTION=1926]April[/MENTION]
     
  19. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    On what incentives could be used to minimize bullying, and what other aspects of our nature we limit through cultural incentives. Just curious about what specifically you had in mind.
     
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  20. Faye

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    We limited loads of things through cultural, but most sex. Sex is the most controlled activity. The other thing is aggression.

    As for bullying, it should not be tolerated in schools or on the schoolbus, or anywhere really. I feel like schools need to come down hard on kids who fight and especially kids who edge them on. That can be hard to do, but bullying i think is a result of attitudes people have that is not necessarily a part of our nature, and we need to discourage those attitudes (the "I'm entitled to x, y, and z" attitudes). It is a myth that bullies have low-self esteem, and self-esteem programs are misguided. Bullies generally think too highly of themselves and need to be taken down a notch.
     
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